The great escape

So yesterday around tiffin we're sitting in what the addiction rehab counsellors call 'the sharing circle', though 'the staring circle' is more like it, because we've been eyeing each other all afternoon, mum, glum and wary.

"I think we're very close to a breakthrough here," the counsellor says, in an ineffectually hopeful kind of way.

Suddenly the hot cardboardy smell of takeout pizza blows into the room from one of the offices down the hall. Bad move by somebody, because the gang of pizza-addicted crows from Sarnia predictably goes apeshit, cackling bloody murder and rumbling en masse toward the aroma. Our counsellor rushes off to aid a couple of staff who, from the sounds of things, are getting mugged by crows. The rest of the group charges after to watch and hoot. The din is terrific.

There's just me and the horse left. He sidles out of the corner he's occupied silently for the past dozen days, stands in front of the padlocked emergency door, and looks at me hard. He finally speaks: "I'm busting out. You in?"

His drawl is oddly familiar. I can't place it, but answer, "Oh, yeah!"

A huge hindward kick shatters the door and an alarm pours new clamour over the chaos. Everybody's too busy to notice. The horse turns to head out, pauses, looks over his shoulder and cocks an eyebrow. "Which way you going?"

"Elgin Street. Ottawa," I say.

"I can give you a ride as far as North Bay," he says. "Got business there. Jump on."

Best offer I've had in days. I hop up, circle twice on his broad back, lie down, and cover my nose with my tail. He heads out into the cold twilight. The cacophony fades behind us. "Didn't catch your name," he says, after a mile or so.

"No real name. Just coyote," I say. "What's yours?"

"No name either," he says. "Just horse."

A mile or two more of clip-clopping in the dark, and another question occurs: "What were you in for?"

"Spaghetti," he says, tersely. The tone brooks no further questions. I shut the hell up. Who am I to judge? After awhile, as I start to drowse, his swaying pauses. There's a scrape, a sulphurous flare, quickly damped, then the smell of foul little black cheroot wafts over his shoulder. "Ah," I think as I drift to sleep. "Got it..."

The Horse With No Name's voice reminds me of Clint Eastwood's...


Harmony said...

I'll have some chocolate...er, I mean, healthy food, yes that's it, ready for your triumphant return, doggie.

coyote said...

Bless you, ma'am...

4th Dwarf said...

C-dog, you forgot the SRW tag on this post. But don't worry, I put it in for you.

coyote said...

Gee, thanks, Shorty! And I'll be hanging you out to dry as soon as I get back!